Okiya Omtatah sues over Uhuru parastatal jobs list

Activist Okiya Omtatah.
Activist Okiya Omtatah. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Rights activist Okiya Omtatah wants the Employment and Labour Relations Court to quash the recent appointment of poll losers to parastatal boards.

The activist filed the case at the High Court in the capital, Nairobi, on Monday morning.

The appointments gazetted on February 8, Mr Omtatah says, were not done in a “fair, open, competitive, merit-based and inclusive process,” as required in law.

He further argues that they were made in contempt of court orders and in breach of the Constitution

The activist has sued the Executive, Public Service Commission, State Advisory Committee and Attorney-General Paul Kihara.


“On February 4 and 8, 2019, the respondents defied orders when they handpicked and appointed individuals to be chairpersons and members of boards of State corporations and state agencies,” he says in the suit papers.

He adds, "The respondents are in contempt of court and lack the right of audience in this court until they purge the contempt."

Since the disputed appointments were gazetted and were to be effected between February 7 and 8, the activist wants the matter heard on priority basis.


A week ago, the court issued an order for all State appointments to be done on merit.

Among those appointed recently are Sports legend Paul Tergat as chairperson of the  Kenya Academy of Sports Council and former Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu as the chair of the Water Services Resource Board for the next three years.

Former Mwingi Central MP Joe Mutambu will chair the Water Resource Authority board while Orange Democratic Movement reasurer Olga Karani is expected to head the council of the Kenya Cultural Centre.

Mr Omtatah has turned to court before over State appointments including those of chief administrative secretaries and principal secretaries.

He filed a suit in January last year against President Kenyatta, the PSC, the Attorney-General and the Speaker of the National Assembly, arguing that they defied the law and skipping public participation.

Mr Omtatah also cited the country's ballooning wage bill and the law, which he said stipulates that no person may claim or exercise State authority except as authorised under the Constitution.